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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Just Read It

Everyone’s reading it. Come on, you read it, too!

Adults read books for many reasons, including what their peers read. When talking about kids, what about when eighth graders want to read that book the cool kids in high school are reading? And so on and so on and now the fifth graders want it, too.

What to do? Sometimes, the frustrations I read about this focus on that darn book, and if only the book didn’t have x or y or z it would be OK.

Pamela Dodson in the Huffington Post takes a different approach in But Mom, Everybody’s Reading It: A Guide to Kid’s Books and Peer Pressure: “parents of children in grades 3-5 complain of being harassed by their children to allow them to read books that were written for teens. Titles like Twilight, Hunger Games, and the later Harry Potter novels. These books were written for young adults who have the age and experiences to understand more mature themes and relationships and to process them accordingly. They were never intended for elementary school children.”

Does this mean every book should be written for a third grader?

No; Dodson explores the different ways for parents to handle the situation, including the fact that no matter what the parent does, the child is still going to want to read the book so will read it. Dodson recommends reading the book with the child: “By allowing the child to read the book and sharing that experience with them, you have created a win-win situation. The child wins the chance to read the desired book and gain peer parity (so important at that age). The parent wins the opportunity to share something their child values and to frame that experience. This is your opportunity to make certain the child’s questions are answered by a knowledgeable source and impart the values you want your child to come away with.”

Hat tip to Jen Robinson for pointing out this article.

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    I’m a YA librarian with a high-reading, soon-to-be fourth grader at home. I’m always about the “Let ‘em read whatever they want,” but I got a little angsty the other day when my daughter picked up my copy of The DUFF. “This is really good, Mom,” she said after having read a couple pages and before I realized exactly what it was she was reading. “Um, yeah, but I’m still reading that, so give it back!” I’m going to have to start hiding my books, I think….

  2. Jen Robinson says:

    Nice job finding the key points, Liz. I so agree about parents reading the books with kids, and it being a win win. I look forward to many chances to try that out myself in the future ;-)

  3. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Lisa, I’m lucky in that my eleven year old niece is put off a book by me saying ‘there’s kissing.”

    Jen, I look forward to hearing about the books your little bookworm discovers and loves1

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